U.S. Fed buys $18.9 bln of mortgage bonds, sells $600 mln

NEW YORK, March 7 Thu Mar 7, 2013 2:38pm EST

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NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve bought $18.9 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities from Feb. 28 through March 6, comparable to the $18.8 billion it bought in the prior week, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday.

The U.S. central bank sold $600 million in mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, in the latest week. It sold none the previous week, the New York Fed said on its Website.

On Sept. 14, the Fed began a $40 billion monthly increase in MBS purchases, its third round of large-scale bond buying, known as QE3, in an attempt to support the housing recovery and boost economic growth.

Since October 2011, the Fed has been using funds from principal payments on the agency debt and agency MBS it holds to reinvest in agency MBS, which was an earlier move to help the housing market.

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